If you’re like me, you probably know a few very talented graphic designers. When it comes to birthdays or the holidays, it can be somewhat daunting to buy them a thoughtful gift, but there are tons of very cool and geeky products out there that he or she will absolutely love! Here is a small list that could prove useful in your search.
Ergonomic Office Chair
Let’s face it. There’s a very good chance Mr. Designer sits down a lot. No, he’s not lazy. It’s just a part of the job that can be way more enjoyable when sitting in an office chair that is not only comfortable, but ergonomic. We want to keep the talented people we care about healthy and prevent them from experiencing unnecessary pains. Plus, grumpy graphic designers can make life miserable for everyone so buying a nice office chair can make a huge impact in everyone’s well being. Herman Miller is an incredible place to discover wonderfully crafted office chairs, yet they are a little pricey. Nice ergonomic chairs can also be located at places like Office Depot and Staples.
Many designers already know a variety of shortcut commands, but this nifty keyboard skin has all the commands organized and color coded literally available at the designer’s fingertips. Available for Apple keyboards only, this packet from Photojojo has skins for Photoshop (CS4/CS5/CS6), Aperture (2.0/3.0), Final Cut Pro/Express and Lightroom! (2/3/4). Photojojo is an awesome place to buy gifts if your designer is also interested in photography. With a $30 price tag, this is a more down to earth gift for people less close.
Graphic Design T-Shirt
It doesn’t matter what type of designer you are shopping for, a t-shirt representing our true geekiness will always spring a smile. Even well dressed designers won’t be able to resist some of the t-shirts designed for designers. Designshack has a pretty nice list of tees that graphic designers and web designers will appreciate. You may not understand them all, but your graphically inclined buddy will. There are tons of tees revolving around graphic design language available for viewing on Pinterest, Zazzle and Cafepress. Of course, if you have your own idea, you can customize a shirt with Printkeg.
Many of us are magnet hoarders. Another neat and thoughtful item from Photojojo are the Photoshop Fridge Magnets. This set includes 11 magnets of Photoshop menus, tools and palettes and is perfect for the part-time cook, full time Adobe obsessed graphic designer. Priced at $25.
Graphic designers tend to spend a bunch of time sitting down for extended periods of time. It’s a dangerous part of the job, but sacrifices must be made for good work! If your designer pal wants to be more aware of his up and down time, the Fitbit might be a cool solution. This wristband helps individuals track steps taken, distance traveled, steps climbed and “active” minutes. Fitbit also tracks sleep time and comes with a silent vibrating alarm for waking up. The user can set up goals and challenge friends which sounds awesome for just about anyone.
A man can’t go wrong buying jewelry, but a she-designer might love some of these interesting, and very thoughtful, pieces including a color wheel pendent or camera pendent by YellowWorkshop.com. I also found a Pantone pendent available from an artist on Etsy, but you may have to do some searching because those kinds of gift items are sometimes very limited in availability.
Color iPhone Case
I personally love surfing through different iPhone cases. If your designer buddy is an Apple fan boy, he might be especially thankful to receive these Pantone oriented iPhone cases. Don’t worry Samsung owners will be happy to know this Etsy creator, EmporiumLounge also has Galaxy series (S3,S4) cases too. There are also a number of awesome phone cases that graphic designers and web developers would love available for view on Pinterest, Zazzle, Society 6 and CafePress. Pantone themselves also has iPhone cases for sale, but they are kind of disappointing aesthetically.
Stand Up Desk
The stand up desk goes along well with our graphic designer recommended gift, the Fitbit Force. Thousands of people are aching and gaining weight simply because they sit for extended periods of time on a daily basis. Some articles explain how detrimental being non-active can really be to one’s health so a stand up desk could be a wonderful alternative for a desk or at least a nice secondary location to work from. The Kangaroo Pro series is small enough to move around, the mounting is adjustable and useable for monitors and laptops. Starting at $299, this is likely a gift for a loved one, but designers sitting around might be appreciative (or offended).
This is probably a no-brainer, but there’s a good chance your designer friend already has Adobe Photoshop. However, many designers are stuck with old versions or limited to office resources. If she isn’t using Photoshop CC yet, then buying him a year subscription would be pretty awesome. Basically, Photoshop CC is the cloud version of Photoshop which Adobe is planning to move towards 100%. It’s possible your designer is using old software and may need someone to step in and show her how cool Photoshop CC is. I use it on a daily basis and love it.
A Good Book About Graphic Design
Every half-way decent graphic designer must keep up with trends, pricing and inspiration. There are two books to keep in mind. The first one is written by design guru himself, Paul Rand, called Paul Rand: A Designer’s Art. Learning and seeing his input on corporate design, design principal and compelling art is remarkable. Most designers love Paul Rand so it will be tough to go wrong with this book. The second book I recommend for the entrepreneurial graphic designer is The Graphic Designer’s Business Survival Guide. Author Lawrence Daniels discusses critical business practices of a one man design firm including accounting, relationship building, forms and much more in an effort to run an efficient business that is less likely to fail.
Pencil “Stylus” by FiftyThree (Not Apple)
Pencil by FiftyThree is a digital stylus modeled after the carpenter pencil that many designers and artists often rely on when drawing on tablets. There are many other styluses out there too (that are arguably better), but Pencil by FiftyThree has gained more notoriety after Apple blatantly ripped of the name (not the look) for their stylus in 2015.
Thanks to many talented artists and the likes of Etsy, there are truly many special gifts out there for graphic designers…and they deserve it. We hope the above ideas were helpful.